Sorry, I never posted a photo from the 1st-kyu test, when the Dai San portion of the kenshusei course started. Here are photos from after the 1st-kyu test (Dai San begins) and from after yesterday’s 1st-dan test (Dai Yon begins).
As you can see, we looked pretty happy and fit at this point, after the 1st-kyu exam. Little did we know what we were in for in Dai San!!
Dai Ichi is for fitness, leg strengthening, learning terminology, learning how to act like a kenshu, and learning the basic mechanics associated with the 4 locks (ikkajo osae, nikajo osae, sankajo osae, yonkajo osae), entering (iriminage), wrist throws (kotegaeshi), etc.
Dai Ni is for learning how to integrate the knowledge from Dai Ichi with powerful, explosive movements that, ideally, start from the body centre. I think that’s why we look relatively fit in these photos. The weather was still very hot and working up a lather each training session.
However, Dai San was something else again. After the 1st-kyu exam, Payet-sensei told us to be ready for a lot of frustration in Dai San. But like Luke Skywalker taking his lightsaber into the cave on Dagobah, I just didn’t listen.
Dai San is about something. Let’s call it feeling. In Dai San, you have to start to do techniques by feeling the connection with your partner instead of relying on the mechanics of joint locks, etc. If you can’t control your partner’s centre of gravity in Dai San, you can’t really do the techniques. Suffice it to say that the last few months have seen a lot of failed techniques. A lot of frustration!!
Since Dai San doesn’t require high fitness for success and since practice slowed down quite a bit while we tried to understand the techniques such as katate-mochi-ikkajo-osae, I think we all gained a little weight and lost some muscle. But mentally, I hope, we were sharper at the end.
Dai San ends with the kuro obi exam for shodan, which is the “1st degree black belt” rank. Here are the three of us after that test. Everyone else had left the dojo, so we had to take a “selfie”:
Now on to Dai Yon, where we will learn the remainder of the basic Yoshinkan syllabus and learn how to teach other beginners. Wish us luck!